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11.11 My quilting challenge

I mentioned it yesterday, that I have been stuck again. It happens, and it’s frustrating when it does, but it happens. Sometimes it’s before the quilt is loaded on the frame, other times it’s in the middle of the process.

Sewing? Easy for me. Maybe it comes naturally, maybe it’s literally decades of experience.  Putting together fabrics, designing patterns, cutting and sewing and pressing just seem to happen. By now it shouldn’t matter why I find it so intuitive, but I know it does.  It might be nature that made me want to create, but it’s experience that builds skill.

Quilting – and by that I mean the part where it actually becomes a quilt – is not easy for me.  Give me a pattern board or a pantograph and some math to do to make the design fit the space, and I’m happy. Freehanding designs? I get a little nauseous. Sometimes a lot.

Quilting = Drawing. It’s simple. Sandie ≠ Drawing. Never has.

So I get stuck. And usually, the longer I stall the worse it gets.

Tuesday night I finally pushed through, and then felt a bit silly for all the drama. I’ll finish this quilt, and the next (that one has a plan AND a pattern board already), and several more after that. But I think it’s time to change my mindset a bit.

I think 2011 is going to be about building my quilting skills. And that takes more than 5 or 10 or who-knows-how-many quilts. It takes regular practice. Daily even – certainly not the dozen times a year I have a finished quilt top. Like learning to play the piano, or spin yarn, or cutting up little bits of fabric and sewing in back together into something you can see in your head and feel in your heart. There’s no substitute for doing it.

There is a PS to this post:  After admiring some truly beautiful quilting by longarm quilter Jenny Pedigo, I spotted links to her favorite sources for pantographs.  I’ve seen Jody Beamish pantos before, but her Willow Leaf Studio is amazing. I splurged a bit, but they’ll be put to good use!

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